THE Dragons swung from derby despair to delight after somehow edging to a 13-12 United Rugby Championship win against the Scarlets in horrendous conditions at Rodney Parade.

Dai Flanagan’s men recorded just their second league success of the campaign to respond to their Boxing Day humiliation at Cardiff.

The boss rang the changes after the Arms Park shocker when they conceded seven of nine tries in a humiliating first half.

He got the response that he wanted to that 55-21 with the Dragons showing fight and determination to take the spoils, with a helping hand from the struggling Scarlets.

They led 10-7 at the break after Wales number eight Aaron Wainwright went over from close range to celebrate his 100th club appearance and respond to Tom Rogers’ opener.

Cai Evans extended the advantage to six points early in the second half and that’s how it remained going into the final quarter.

The Scarlets struck through full-back Ioan Lloyd and should have hit the front only for fit-again Sam Costelow to miss the conversion and then an easy penalty with seven minutes to go.

South Wales Argus: TRY: Aaron Wainwright powered over for the DragonsTRY: Aaron Wainwright powered over for the Dragons (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

This wasn’t a classic but it was certainly a performance to restore pride after the white flag seemed to be raised in the capital.

It was a collective effort but there were a number of big individual displays, arguably none bigger than that of James Benjamin.

The former flanker produced his best performance since turning into a hooker, one to put the pressure on the more-fancied Wales pair of Bradley Roberts and Elliot Dee.

The set piece was strong and Benjamin made some telling contributions around the park, with one bone-shuddering tackle on replacement scrum-half Kieran Hardy to force a turnover.

He emptied the tank, as did warhorse flanker Dan Lydiate on his first start since a rib injury in November.

The Dragons got the win they needed – a double over the west Wales sides in Newport this season – and avoid being cut adrift at the bottom of the URC and Welsh Shield.

It certainly doesn’t make up for the humiliation in Cardiff, but it’s a start.

South Wales Argus: POWER: James Benjamin was excellent for the DragonsPOWER: James Benjamin was excellent for the Dragons (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

The Dragons made a strong start and opened the scoring in the fifth minute through the right boot of Cai Evans, who was back at his usual position of full-back.

The Scarlets put the restart dead and conceded another penalty from the resulting scrum to give the Wales international another shot at goal but he pushed it to the right.

The slippery conditions were predictably having an impact as the rain lashed down on a Rodney Parade surface that had already hosted a women’s Celtic Challenge fixture earlier in the afternoon.

Kicking was order of the day and a wonderful 50-22 by Sam Costelow enabled the Scarlets to hit the front in the 21st minute.

They won their lineout, carried hard and then fast hands by Costelow led to wing Tom Rogers crossing down the right for a try that the Wales fly-half converted.

At 7-3 down, the Dragons got into Scarlets territory through a good kick chase by Ewan Rosser and then a lineout penalty that Will Reed kicked five metres out… only for the lineout to be picked off, then another from the resulting clearance kick.

Another penalty presented a chance in the 22 with 35 minutes on the clock and this time Flanagan’s men took it.

The driving lineout went close then the heavy mob hammered away before Wainwright got low to slide over.

Evans converted for a 10-7 lead that they held onto at the break after repelling a late Scarlets chance in their 22.

The Dragons produced a monstrous driving lineout six minutes into the second half that marched them from the 10-metre line to the 22.

The Scarlets scrambled to prevent the try but referee Craig Evans went back for a penalty at the lineout that Evans put between the posts for a 13-7 lead.

Play was then almost exclusively just outside the Dragons’ 22 for the next 10 minutes with the hosts unable to escape due to handling errors and the visitors unable to punish them for the same reason.

However, the Scarlets had a huge attacking opportunity when a scrum penalty was followed by a majestic Costelow touch-finder to within five metres after 62 minutes.

The Dragons defended superbly against the one-out passes and when the ball was flung to Rogers down the right, yet the Scarlets were playing with penalty advantage.

The kept the pressure on and full-back Ioan Lloyd eventually slid over after a change of direction caught the hosts on the hop.

Costelow had a shot for the lead but pushed it under pressure from Ewan Rosser – the Dragons led 13-12 with just over 10 minutes to go.

Yet a counter by Lloyd from a clearance put them straight back under pressure with Jared Rosser’s desperate tackle denying Hardy a run-in.

The Scarlets put the squeeze on in the 22 to earn a penalty and Costelow was given a simple task from the tee in the 73rd minute, only to once again fluff his lines.

The visitors had once last chance in the 80th minute and worked into the 22 only for the ball to come loose and Ollie Griffiths to hack clear.

The Scarlets had to conjure something from deep – but Griffiths won a turnover and sparked wild celebrations in the stands. Plenty of those in amber on the field had no energy to do the same.

Dragons: C Evans; J Rosser, Owen, Ackerman, E Rosser; Reed, R Williams (captain, Blacker 69); Martinez (R Jones 49), Benjamin, Fairbrother (Brown 57), Lonsdale, Nott (Woodman 49), Lydiate, Keddie (O Griffiths 57), Wainwright.

Scorers: tries – Wainwright; conversion – C Evans; penalties – C Evans (2).

Scarlets scorers: tries – T Rogers, I Lloyd; conversions – S Costelow.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales).

Attendance: 7,617.